Gosh nearly four weeks since I left Melbourne.
I decided to drive out to the coast from Karratha for a look – it was a dead-end road and there were a few people fishing from the beach and seemingly endless white sand and sea stretching way into the distance.
Was interested to have a look at the mining town of Dampier which wasn’t too far away from Karratha and the brilliant blue of the water against the massive red boulders and rocks everywhere were a striking combination.
Even with the presence of all the mining equipment, buildings, roads carved through the red rock, for me there is a raw beauty about it, only softened by the many colourful trees and flowers.
I parked the car and walked into the small shopping centre (which was quite deserted as several shops had closed down) and a group of young mothers sat around a table while their small children were happily racing up and down the long corridor and having a lot of fun.
I was attracted to the Red Dog poster (newspaper article about the famous Red Dog of the Pilbara) outside the supermarket and the shop assistant told me that her parents used to actually feed the Red Dog.
I’m becoming clever at sussing out the good cafes and found the Hullabaloo Café tucked away around the corner, with quite a few Rio Tinto staff enjoying a coffee break. Chatted to Amber behind the counter and bought some lasagne for my dinner (which I didn’t get to enjoy this particular night as there was no microwave in my motel room).
Considering it’s a mining town Dampier is very nice with some lovely homes overlooking the water. Guess Cyclones are the major hazard here – I noticed the signboard said that the area is free of cyclones currently, thank goodness.
It’s hard to generate much info about the scenery when it’s actually quite monotonous. Lots of road trains, lots of mining stuff happening and one has to be very careful driving on the roads. I noticed what looked like a dust storm to my left ahead of me and when I passed it, the car actually swerved to the right with quite some force, so I was very glad there was nothing coming the other way as I didn’t expect to be tossed around like that.
The motel was in Hedland South, about 15km from Port Hedland. 138 units, some of them occupied by police people, mining staff and people from the law courts nearby. I ate in the large restaurant (similar to an RSL buffet) but actually food was lovely. Chef from Poland who cooked chilli mussels which were delicious.
Apparently the temperature has dropped in the last week so I’m told. I hate to think what it must have been like.
Staff member said the pool water was likely to be rather cold because the temperature had dropped but actually it felt quite pleasant to me, very refreshing.
Drove into Port Hedland for a look. Quite a few empty shops, businesses closed down. Stopped and took photos of the salt mounds on the way. There’s even a special lookout where you can stop to take a photo.
And so much for me being a smarty pants and talking about how I’d done my homework regarding fuel.
When I left Karratha for Port Hedland I had half a tank and didn’t bother to fill up because I went straight out onto the Northern Highway thinking I’d find a petrol station any moment – any moment!! Please.
Nope. Not a one. And so I stopped and topped up the tank with my whole five litres of fuel from my little jerry can and made it to the first petrol station outside Port Hedland with my fingers and toes crossed. I can tell you – I was praying the whole way there that Bluebird would make it! And she did.